NEW YORK (MainStreet) As Ash Canda drove in from New Jersey to Manhattan through the Lincoln Tunnel, he was stopped by a police officer for holding a mobile device in his hand.
"I was using my cell phone to find my way to my hotel room in the Times Square area," said Cannda who was visiting the Big Apple with friends from San Francisco.
Although Canda wasn't cited, he sat in the car for half an hour while the officer processed his out of state driver's license.
"I explained that normally I'd have a holster but this is a rental car," Canda said. "I was holding my phone as a navigation device. The last time I got a moving violation my car insurance increased 20%."
Ash is one of many Americans who are finding that a minor traffic violation can lead to 21% higher car insurance costs, according to a new report.
Minor violations include driving 1 to 15 miles per hour over the legal limit.
"Having points on a license from minor infractions increases the likelihood that a driver will file a future claim with his or her car insurance company," said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst with Bankrate. "Due to that potential increased risk, insurers raise rates to compensate."
"Driving history is just one of many variables, including age, gender, credit and vehicle type that carriers use to set car insurance rates," Adams told MainStreet.
The study further found that the most expensive violation is driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, cannabis or prescription pills, which can lead to insurance increasing by 93%.
"The laws are basically the same for alcohol and drugs," said Michael Chazukow, outreach director with National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "You cannot drive under the influence of alcohol or cannabis. Law enforcement receives training as drug recognition experts to identify if someone is too intoxicated to drive. This training will be expanded to more officers as additional detection methods are developed."